7 Factors That Should Impact Your Choice In Floor Finish

The most common types of flooring found in commercial buildings today are either terrazzo or VCT (Vinyl Composition Tile). Although there are many new flooring systems being introduced, these 2 are the most common that require floor finish. Most common finishes are water based with an acrylic polymer that is applied wet. The water evaporates and the acrylic polymer film remains to protect the floor. Depending on your needs and expectations a few or several coats can be applied. More coats typically results in a deeper shine. This is a relatively simple process, but many aspects should be taken into consideration.

Solid Content – This is the film that remains on the floor after drying.

High or Low Gloss – Finishes have different gloss levels.

Hard or Soft – Hard or soft will determine the amount of maintenance required.

Cleaning Chemicals – Consider using finishes and cleaning chemical made by the same manufacturer.

Number of Coats – How many coats do you need?

Humidity – Humidity levels are crucial when applying floor finish. They will impact cure time.

Daily Maintenance – The amount of maintenance will directly impact your labor costs.

For the best results contact your local representative. They can make recommendations on the type of finish best suited for your staff, facility and budget requirements.

Prep Your Pool For July 4th [Infographic]

Here is a quick infograph to make sure your swimming pool is crystal clear for your 4th of July party!


A Quick Refresher On Floor Stripping

It is now the time of year when a lot of people will be stripping floors. Many people still don’t realize there are different ways to achieve the same results. The traditional method is still to use liquid floor stripper and a floor machine or an automatic floor scrubber. When using this method there a few areas of concern.

  • Make sure you know what type of floor you are stripping and the type of finish you want to remove. Most floors will be VCT tile or terrazzo.
  • Choose the stripper that is most appropriate for the finish you are removing. The stronger the stripper in general is better. But make sure the stripper you choose is not so strong that it bleeds the color in the floor.
  • Dilute the stripper at the proper ratio with cold water and apply to the floor with a clean mop. It is important to use cold water because you want as much dwell time as possible and hot water evaporates more quickly. Cold water enables you to keep the liquid diluted stripper on the floor longer. Do not allow the stripper to dry out on the floor. Work in small areas and completely saturate the floor surface.
  • Agitate with a floor machine or an automatic scrubber or a floor using an aggressive stripping pad to remove the finish. When the stripper is removed vacuum the floor, vacuum the slurry mixture with the scrubber or a wet/dry vac.
  • Rinse the floor well with a neutral cleaner to neutralize the caustic nature of the stripper. Without proper rinsing the new floor finish may have adhesion problems.
  • Always use proper Personal Protective Equipment such as gloves, goggles, and non-slip shoes or safety slippers. Stripper is extremely slippery and caustic.

The newer and safer method to strip floors is by using an orbital scrubber that can be used dry or with only water. These machines can safely remove floor finish without the use of chemical stripper. These offer many advantages.

  • No need to buy expensive chemical stripper.
  • Works on all floor surfaces.
  • Reduced slip and fall accidents since the floor is always clean and dry.
  • Strips into corners that a floor machine can’t reach. Reduced labor using hand tools to get into hard to reach places.
  • Don’t have to clean up the baseboards because stripper & finish is not splashed by the use of a typical floor machine.
  • Strips the same amount of area as typical chemical strippers in about 20% of the time.
  • No flushing caustic chemical strippers down the drain.
  • Eliminates finish adhesion issues since no caustic chemical is used.

The Essentials To Daily Floor Scrubber Maintenance [Infographic]

Here is an infographic to recap last Monday’s post about daily automatic floor scrubber maintenance! This is great material to post near the area you keep your auto scrubber.


The Circle Of Battery Life Maintenance

More and more facilities are now using battery powered floor scrubbers to clean their floors. They are faster and much more productive and efficient than the traditional mop and bucket. They also require more attention and maintenance. One of the biggest concerns is the batteries. This one area seems to be the most neglected. Maintenance staffs will perform daily maintenance to clean out the dirty water, clean the squeegees and brushes, pads and filters. Not as often do they pop the caps on the batteries to check and correct the water levels. This one task is crucial for the machine to function properly since most machines have wet/cell batteries. Batteries should be checked at least on a weekly basis.

Here are a few basic tips and when used together they create the circle of battery life maintenance. Check out the image below for a more visually appealing representation.

  • Check the water levels at least once per week.
  • Use only distilled water when filling the cells.
  • Cover with enough water to cover the lead plates but not to the top of the cell.
  • Clean off the terminal posts.
  • Make sure the cable connections are tight.
  • Charge the batteries before you fill them completely. (Assuming the water level covers the lead plates)
  • Always plug the charger into the machine first, and then plug into the wall outlet.
  • When Charging is complete remove plug from wall first, then the machine.
  • After charging check the water levels and fill to the water level mark in each cell.

Following these simple steps will result in longer running time and increased longevity for your batteries. Batteries are expensive. Good maintenance will reduce your cost and expense.


Considering The Purchase Of An Automatic Floor Scrubber?

So you are considering purchasing an automatic floor scrubber to clean your floors. There are a lot of options available. So which one do you choose? Let’s consider the basics. A single person can damp mop about 5,000 sq. ft. per hour using a mop and bucket. The same person with an auto scrubber can do five to ten times that and the floor will be much cleaner. A scrubber puts down water and cleaning chemical, scrubs the floor and vacuums the floor dry. They all perform the same basic function, but there are huge differences in the design, reliability and durability.


Download our free buying guide so you can be sure you are asking the right questions!

Informed Buyer's Guide to Automatic Floor Scrubbers

Can a Tomcat Floor Scrubber Make Your Life Easier?

The Tomcat Orbital Scrubber series of machines are quite possibly the most productive, efficient floor cleaning machines on the market today. Not only are they great everyday floor scrubbers, they offer the ability to strip your floors without using traditional strippers or harsh chemicals. Here are a few advantages you can realize from a Tomcat EDGE:

Square Corners – Gives you the ability to scrub directly into corners and along wall edges that are missed by traditional round pads. They don’t leave the round swirl marks left by round pads.

Durability – Tomcat Edge Machines are made of solid steel and stainless steel fasteners. The orbital motors operate at as much as 2 times the rpm of other machines. They provide more down pressure and strip floors faster.

Environmentally Friendly – depending on the model these machines can be used dry or with water only. That means no harsh chemicals are flushed down the drain. They use 70% less water than traditional scrubbers. Less water, no chemicals means safer for the environment. These are all LEEDS Certified.

Liability – Everyone knows how slippery floors are when using traditional strippers. No chemicals mean reduced slip & fall incidents, reduced injuries and claims, and lower liability costs.

Productivity – Operators can be trained in a matter of minutes. Traditional stripping methods require the experience of using rotary machines and chemical strippers. Tomcat EDGE machines can reduce the time by 75% or more and the floor are clean, prepped and ready for new finish immediately. No rinsing required since no chemicals are used. The finish is removed and vacuumed up immediately. No stripper or finish is splashed on the baseboards. This means less clean up and removal of stripper and finish from the walls.

Cost Savings – Time is money. With the EDGE Series machines from Tomcat, 1 person can do what used to take an entire cleaning crew. And do it in less time. This leaves time for your maintenance staff to perform more important functions.

Informed Buyer's Guide to Automatic Floor Scrubbers

How to Extend the Life of Your Automatic Floor Scrubber

I have been selling, installing and training people in the proper usage of automatic floor scrubbers for 30 years. I’ve noticed a few basic areas in the maintenance of a scrubber that will extend its life and make you much happier with the equipment.

  1. Clean out the machine after every use. Clean out the dirty water tank and back-flush the water pick-up hose. This will keep residue to a minimum and maintain better water pick-up. Clean out any filters that capture debris as the water enters the tank.
  2. Clean out the clean water tank after each use. Soap film can form in the tank and make it more difficult for water to flow to the brushes.
  3. Clean out any filters that keep debris from clogging the solution lines and possibly clogging the solution control valve or solenoid. Do this at least once a week.
  4. Take off the pads or brushes after each use. Clean out any dirt or debris and hang them to dry. If there are 2, rotate them when reinstalling. This will keep the bristles from taking a set in one direction and extend the life of the brush.
  5. Remove the squeegee assembly after each use. Clean and inspect the blades and let dry before installing. Clean out the opening where the pick-up hose attaches.
  6. Wipe off the gaskets on the underside of the lid assembly after each use. Leave the lid open between uses to dry and keep moisture and mildew from creating a problem.
  7. Inspect and clean the batteries once a week. Maintain the proper water level if you have wet/cell batteries. Make sure the battery cables are tight.
  8. Wipe down the machine after each use. Remove any dirt or soap film that has accumulated.

These steps at the end of each day should take no more than 15 minutes to perform but they will extend the life of your scrubber, make it more productive and keep it running smoother. You can also check out this auto scrubber infograph to see this information in more visually appealing way. Pairing great daily maintenance with a routine preventative maintenance program from a qualified professional is the best way to extend the life of your auto scrubber.

cleaning equipment and floor scrubber service and preventative maintenance

How to Throw a Great Pool Party [Infographic]

With summer just beginning it is the perfect time to start planning that pool party you have been waiting all winter to have. After all what is the point of a swimming pool if doesn’t get used. Anyway, we put together an infograph to help spur your pool party planning. Enjoy and be sure to let us know of any cool party ideas you have used!